1. Surround Yourself with Champions
After two consecutive early playoff exits, this season, the Warriors were determined to finally get over the hump. And so, they brought in Steve Kerr to be the new head coach—a man who previously won five NBA titles as a player. From playing alongside a slew of Hall of Famers—Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Robert Parish, and others—he was the perfect guy to instill a championship culture into the locker room. Combine that with new features of the legendary triangle offense installed, and the Warriors became the #1 scoring team in the league.
We humans tend to have a propensity to conform to our environments more than we’d probably like to admit. Rather than denying this aspect of our nature, it’s much better to embrace it and create the types of environments that make it as easy as possible to achieve our ultimate goals.
2. Focus on Your Strengths, and Never Doubt Yourself
In a Game 2 loss, Stephen Curry set a record for the most missed 3-pointers ever in an NBA Finals contest with 13. But now that all is said and done, it turns out he also demolished the all-time record for most 3-pointers hit in a single playoff run with 98.
When Curry had a slow start to the Finals, the masses began to question whether he should’ve been shooting so often, and if he should switch up the strategy that carried his team to that point. But he never lost sight of the big picture. The moral of the story here is that we should never allow the fear of looking incompetent at times prevent us from doing what we do best.
3. When Your Number Is Called, Seize the Moment
Down two games to one in the Finals, the Warriors turned to veteran backup Andre Iguodala to start in Game 4. Though he hadn’t had a single start all season long, he turned it on when it mattered most—and the Warriors ended up winning three straight with him in the lineup to close out the series. Amazingly, he became the first player in NBA history to receive the MVP award after not starting a game in the regular season.
When someone gets an unexpected opportunity to shine on the biggest stage of their life, it’s too late to prepare for it. It’s too late to try to get into the right state of mind. A true champion embodies this mindset long before their grand moment appears—they believe it when they’re sitting on the bench, they believe it when they practice in front of an empty stadium, they believe it when they sacrifice doing things they really enjoy to perfect their crossover—knowing that when they finally do break onto the big stage, they will be ready to shock the world.
Read Jordan Phoenix’s answer to, “What Lessons Can Be Learned from the Warriors’ 2015 NBA Championship Victory?” on Quora